Crockpot Ropa Vieja

easy ropa vieja

 Crockpot Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is a favorite Latin comfort dish that highlights braised shredded flank, brisket or skirt steak swimming in a flavorful tomato sauce base.   The words ropa vieja mean “old clothes” in Spanish.  The name describes the shreds of meat and vegetables which resemble colorful strips of rags.

A popular story of ropa Vieja is about a man who had family coming for a visit. The man was very, very poor and could not afford to buy enough food for his family’s visit. So in desperation he ran to his closet, shredded up all his old clothes (ropa vieja), poured his love into the clothes and threw them to a pot. While cooking the ropa vieja he thought of his love for his family and slowly the shredded clothes became a wonderful stew for him and his family to enjoy.

My kids love to share this story whenever we make ropa vieja for family or friends. Their eyes light up when they speak of the father’s love for his children and his deep desire to serve them a dish that is infused with love for family.
ropa vieja, crockpot


This Cuban beef stew is hearty enough to eat on its own, but goes well over rice and served alongside crusty bread to soaked every last drop of the flavorful juices. Depending on the region fried eggs, green peppers and chunks of fried potatoes might be added to the dish just before serving. Instead of using a pressure cooking I turn to my crock pot to slow cook my ropa vieja, while I enjoy time with my family.  A dish brimming with the flavor of love, ropa vieja makes for one special dining experience.



Crockpot Ropa Vieja

Yield: serves 6-8


  • 1 ½ pound flank steak
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 1-15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons, chopped pimiento stuffed olives


  1. In a crock pot add tomatoes, vinegar, diced chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, salt and pepper.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Add flank steak, onions and bell peppers.
  4. Cook on low for 4- 6 hours.
  5. When ready to serve sprinkle stuffed olive and serve alongside rice.

Keeping with the theme of Ropa Vieja I recently participated in a Google Hangout with Chef George Duran and a few of my favorite food bloggers. We discussed all things kitchen, cooking and family friendly recipes. At the end of the segment Chef Duran shard with us his version of Ropa Vieja with a twist Ropa Nueva, check it out!




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